Dear Adventurers … I really have not forgotten about you. Not in the least. I’ve just been a tad on the crazy busy side … and in the summer no less! Summer, when we should have little more to do than lounge about, reading a good book.
Speaking of which, let’s take a bit of a break and have ourselves an adventure. And what better adventure than with Horatio Hornblower?
Hornblower and the Even Chance
A January Gale was roaring up the Channel, blustering loudly, and bearing on its bosom rain squalls whose big frops rattled loudly on the tarpaulin clothing of those among the officers and men whose duties kept them on deck. So hard and so long had the gale blown that even in the sheltered waters of Spithad the battleship moved uneasily at her anchors, pitching a little in the choppy seas, and snubbing herself against the tautened cables with unexpected jerks. A shore boat was on its way out to her, propelled by oars in the hands of two sturdy women; it danced madly on the steep little waves, now and then putting its nose into one and sending a sheet of spray flying aft. The oarswoman in the bow knew her business, and with rapid glances over her shoulder not only kept the boat on its course but turned the bows into the worse of the waves to keep from capsizing. It slowly drew up along the starboard side of the Justinian, and as it approached the main chains the midshipman of the watch hailed it.
‘Aye aye,’ came back the answering hail from the lusty lungs of the woman at the stroke oar; by the curious and ages-old convention of the navy the reply meant that the boat had an officer on board–presumably the huddled figure in the sternsheets looking more like a heap of trash with a boat cloak thrown over it…
-Excerpt, Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, by C.S. Forester